13 Replies Latest reply on Jul 19, 2011 1:38 AM by bugzy99

    Not Adobe's fault?


      Has anyone notice a distinct tendency among some contributors to exculpate Adobe in this bloody mess? It's not Adobe's problem, they say. The fact is, it IS Adobe's problem -- and they are making it mine and yours. This situation -- which has led to the complaints and appeals to be found in this forum, not to mention hundreds of thousands of others being voiced more quietly -- is a bloody disgrace; and it cannot be too long now before publishers and manufacturers of ebook readers get the message and get Adobe out of the equation.


      Imagine, if you will, what would have been the state of the automotive industry now if Henry Ford, in its infancy, had produced not only automobiles, but also gasoline, and had then decreed that only his brand could be used, that it must be bought from his gas stations and that these would enable drivers to visit only those areas of the country, the continent, where he established them. The situation thus created would not have lasted. Nor, Adobe, will this situation. You are on your way out -- and I await that development eagerly.

        • 1. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
          Level 4

          Nice tirade.  When I read it, I think of Microsoft and the way Bill Gates

          treated his customers - you and me - as the software evolved to become the

          basis for 80+ percent of the personal computers and other electronic devices

          on the planet.


          I can see that you're taking aim at many of the things I've said.  My

          response is simple: look at the fixes that have been employed to remedy

          situations that you speak of.  Most of them deal with how you USEthe

          technology, not the technology itself.  Yes there are areas that must be

          improved (such as error notices and error correction).  Most of us would

          like other features as well that would make it really simple to function

          with this technology.  Adobe has upgraded its software several times in the

          past two or three years, and there's no reason to feel that they won't

          continue to do so.  Whether you wait or not is your choice, but lambasting

          what exists is merely expression of frustration.


          You must think also that Adobe isn't the only supplier of DMCA compliant

          software.  Others, such as Bluefire and Overdirve meet the requirements of

          that act as well, and THEY have technological problems (just ask my local

          librarian!).  So, as you put it, THEY are making it 'mine and yours' also.

          But, this happens to be an Adobe forum, so it would appear that Adobe must

          shoulder all of the responsiblity.


          Chin up.  Sooner or later you'll figure it out and it will work for you - or

          you'll revert to printed material and become a curmudgeon.



          • 2. Re: Not Adobe's fault?

            I report my own experience: with ADE I downloaded an e-pub title (protection watermarking DRM) and was only able to read it on ADE library. Once transferred on my Nook, the book was not readable, because I saw only the cover and was not able to go on (after a couple of seconds the page returned on 'my library). By luck, I already had on my PC the programme Calibre-E-book management: this time I have to jump to page 3 (before the actual book first page) and the file has still some problem -but- eventually can read it. So much for 'Not Adobe Fault'...

            • 3. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
              bloodyannoyed Level 1

              Point (or points) taken. Even so, I am nowhere near as technologically

              knowledgeable as clearly you are; I don't wish to be (and that's not sour

              grapes); I simply want to be able to buy an apparently protected book and

              download it to more than one device without being involved in an endless,

              and so far fruitless, hassle with a monolithic software developer. I want to

              read my books, for which I have paid, not argue about how and when and why I

              do this.


              Incidentally, the grovelling tone of the two responses I've had from

              individuals in the employ of Adobe (thanking me for 'taking the time',

              expressing appreciation of my 'patience', etc.) indicates strongly to me, a

              journalist by trade, that they know full well how much unrest exists among

              ordinary readers and are concerned that this might be approaching a tipping



              I won't, in any event, return to printed material, any more than earlier

              problems with computers impelled me back to my quill pen; nor shall I,

              unless the imbecility of those I deal with forces me, become a curmudgeon.


              Thanks for your response. As I say, the points (some of them, anyway) are

              taken. And I appreciated the intelligence and maturity.

              • 4. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                bloodyannoyed Level 1

                Further to my earlier posting (and I really don't intend to make a career of this), I would respond to another correspondent's reference to Bill Gates and his numerical success by noting that, just a few years ago, it was established that more than 70 percent of Windows users would prefer Microsoft to come up with an entirely new OS, rather than continuing to 'develop' its flawed product. And then, of course, there is Linux and its growing acceptance around the globe.


                There is another way to handle the problems of authors' rights to their work. How about, for instance, simply ensuring that ebook files cannot be copied? That way, they could not be duplicated and the author/publisher thus cheated. The purchaser -- who surely is entitled to give to a friend or to anyone, for that matter, any book he or she has purchased -- would be able to pass on the acquired property without bringing ruinous havoc to the livelihoods of these overly fearful successors of Shakespeare and Milton, Gutenberg and Caxton.

                • 5. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                  Level 4

                  Digital publication will evolve, and - hopefully for both you and I -

                  companies will make it very simple for people to use a modicum of technology

                  to accomplish their objectives.  It ain't that way now.


                  The principal debate on how to proceed was held back in the 1990's.

                  Publishers (and others) could see the direction of the music and picture

                  industry, and the problems in protecting intellectual property.  The Digital

                  Millenium Copyright Act of 2000 encapsulates the objectives of the industry

                  to provide control and management of intellectual property that's subject to

                  copyright protection.  This is called Digital Rights Management (DRM), and

                  is part of the digital publishing process, should your friendly publisher

                  desire to use it.  Thus, DRM-protected epublications have 'tag' files that

                  tell the software whether a publication can be printed, copied or shared.

                  Go to the avatar of one of the ebooks ADE has stored for you, and you'll see

                  an arrow appear.  Click on that arrow, and you'll see a display of the

                  digital rights assigned to it.  Your desire to prevent copying is built in

                  now, along with others.  So, those who write for a living get their checques

                  for royalties.


                  Press on with the suggestions, wit and charm (?) so that those employees of

                  Adobe will heed the call from the masses who really care about the concept

                  and its implementation.  They need to hear the feedback from people over and

                  over again, until someone sets down some new objectives for the revision of

                  the software.  It would be nice to be able to participate in that




                  • 6. Re: Not Adobe's fault?

                    Unless and until there is a common publisher-decreed standard for acceptable performance of "Digital Rights Management" software, it's unlikely that the digital book market will evolve to have transparent and usable digital rights management.  For, if one big software company controls the market by virtue of name recognition, but produces mediocre DRM software, the cost of entry will be too high for competitors who would otherwise enter to compete, forcing the dominant company to improve. 


                    Nor will the market force of threat of lawsuit cause DRM software makers to make better software.  (Witness the number of similar bugs on this forum.)  For, if DRM software is licensed with a warranty disclaimer, the DRM company can effectively escape lawsuit for a product that's unfit for its intended purpose, or for the damage caused when the defective product removes purchased books.  Thus, there appears to be no legal market incentive for Adobe to make better DRM software, unlike, say, the legal market incentive a CD manufacturer has to make working CDs.


                    Moreover, if word gets out that the only way to get books on your cool new ereader is to go through utter time-wasting hell practically every time you want to purchase a book or periodical, (or check one out from the library), the growing market for ebooks won't evolve, but will choke.


                    On this forum, I see a lot of excuses for why Adobe's DRM software should not work better.  However, DRM is part of a product, and it should work without excessive defects.  We paid good money for our ereaders and our ebooks with the reasonable expectation that we should be able to read the books with a minimum of hassle.  An ereader-DRM system should enable just that, or it should not be sold.

                    • 7. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                      bloodyannoyed Level 1

                      Thanks very much for your response to my posting. It's heartening to be

                      reassured that one is neither alone in one's outrage against Adobe's

                      inflicting of, as you so justly describe it, 'utter time-wasting hell' on

                      innocent purchasers of other companies' ereaders and ebooks, nor attracting

                      only the snide, poorly written and illogical ventings of such as the

                      respondent from Arizona.


                      Adobe is bringing shame and, I believe, growing disgruntlement on itself and

                      its DRM software; and it should be in no doubt that this situation will not

                      be allowed to continue indefinitely. Already, there are ways -- one of which

                      I have recently, to my great satisfaction, accessed -- to get around the

                      accursedly complicated and defective software they produce in this



                      As you say, we pay good money for our ereaders and ebooks (one of which, ADE

                      has irrecoverably lost me) and we are entitled to their unfettered use. That

                      ebooks cannot be duplicated and distributed makes sense to me; but that they

                      cannot be casually lent or given away, as would any other form of property,

                      is bloody nonsense and a curtailment of the purchaser's rights.

                      • 8. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                        Level 4

                        We could make a career out of determining what should be, but one point

                        we've not discussed is the assumption that, if our device maker says we can

                        read ebooks on it, then we should be able to do that using Adobe Digital

                        Editions with a miniumum of hassle, etc.  That's a leap of faith.  And

                        that's not the way it works.


                        If you look at the industry, the big 'players' all have different methods to

                        distribute their ebooks: Amazon, B&N, Apple and SONY all have tweaked

                        digital rights or other parts of the ebook formats to provide their

                        customers with certain proprietary features.  There are other approaches,

                        such as Bluefire and Overdrive that provide the functions that ADE performs

                        as well.


                        So, in stepping off the soapbox, I'll validate 'bugzy99's comments, and

                        soldier on in trying to tame the technology I'm using.  And I'll take note

                        of 'bloodyannoyed's attempt to pick a fight with me.  I've had much better




                        • 9. Re: Not Adobe's fault?

                          I purchased 1 book which requires ADE ... my first and last book.  To say that I hate ADE would be doing a grave disservice to hatred.  And, in fact, I'm on my way to loathing.  When I purchase a book, it belongs to me, not Adobe.  I don't want or need big brother Adobe in my face.  And, I definitely don't want them controlling or monitoring the books I choose to read.  Adobe has become a real POS company over the past 10 years ... I'm at the point were I wish I could dump all their products in favor of a company that doesn't shakedown it's customers every chance it gets.  Adobe ... you suck.

                          • 10. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                            Level 4

                            You're frustrated?  Nah!  Take a look at my moniker.


                            I gather you're having problems with your downloaded ebook.  And, it would

                            appear that you want to do something with it but Adobe is giving you

                            messages that says you can't.  If I'm correct, then those messages come from

                            the digital rights to that ebook which were assigned by the publisher, not



                            You'll have much the same problem with any ebook you purchase or download

                            from any site.  It's the industry, not a particular website or program, that

                            puts roadblock in your way, going back to the mid-'90's when they got

                            together and designed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 2000.

                            Publishers can assign rights to their publications,and you (or I) have no

                            option but to follow them.


                            Some sites like Amazon and B&N are a bit different, but you'll have to be a

                            slave to their website and ereaders that work with it.  And there's no

                            guarantee that the digital rights that they pass on will be different from

                            those that Adobe does.


                            You do have an option to go back to your ebook source and find out whether

                            there's anything they'll be willing to do, such as return your money.



                            • 11. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                              bloodyannoyed Level 1

                              Thanks for responding to 'Not Adobe's Fault?'. Every voice added to the chorus of discontent helps. What will assist even more, I suggest, is working to ensure that more and more users and potential users of Adobe's deficient and dictatorial ADE read this forum and make their own contributions.


                              Fortunately (and surprisingly, given the state of humanity), there are comparatively few of the type exemplified by the soi disant 'Frustrated in Arizona'. This individual, I suggest, is either a superannuated PR flack or a former employee of Adobe, dependent on them and their goodwill for his pension.


                              In any event, what is going on here is an outrageous example of innocent individuals -- like you, like me and like a growing number of others -- buying ebooks, to entertain or edify themselves, only to find that their rights are high-handedly and, I believe illicitly, curtailed by publishers and their panderers.


                              There are ways around this, despite the vaporings of self-serving apologists. One is to circumvent ADE, which I consider my right as the purchaser of a book; another, more effective, way is to join with others to confront Adobe and its clients with the condemnation and court challenges they deserve.


                              Join in, more of you! It's the only way to beat tyranny, as the history of America shows.

                              • 12. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                                Level 4

                                "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." -



                                Personal characterizations should not be in this discussion.  However, it's

                                your privilege to slander those who are trying to help others.  I don't see

                                any advice on how to resolve errors coming from you - only bombast and

                                sarcasm about what you don't like.  Thank goodness there are very few of

                                your type here on the forum.


                                For the record: I am not, nor ever have been, in the employ of Adobe or any

                                of its group of companies.  I have come to Adobe Digital Editions through my

                                acquisition of an ereader, the same way that the rest of you have.  And,

                                because I've spent fully half of my 35 year career in business in the

                                design, implementation and documentation of application systems, I can see

                                more dispassionately what may be occurring.  Errors, as you put it so

                                brusquely, can be caused by many, many things.  You and others don't seem to

                                understand that, because an error occurs and you don't like it, you don't

                                have grounds to sue the company or the industry.


                                Remember, Digital Rights are not a synonym for Adobe Digital Editions.

                                While Adobe has implemented digital rights processing according to industry

                                standards, they are NOT in control of what digital rights are assigned by

                                the people who supply the epublications.  No matter whether you pick ADE or

                                some other software, the digital rights, IF ASSIGNED, will be the same - and

                                the processing of them won't be that different.  WHATEVER software any of us

                                use will be reacting to controls and restrictions put in place by others.

                                Good luck proving that ADE is doing something illicit.


                                As far as an application system goes, I've seen ones designed by college

                                students that did error processing better than ADE, and THAT's what is most

                                frustrating to me - because Adobe does so well with its ther application

                                systems.  If any of us are going to use ADE effectively without becoming

                                'bloody annoyed' or 'frustrated', we need better software/user

                                communication!!!  Less hot air - more information.


                                That's what annoys me - along with people who go off half-cocked.  Reminds

                                me of Don Quixote.  You take the low road, and I'll take the high road.

                                I'll hear you all the way to town.



                                • 13. Re: Not Adobe's fault?
                                  bugzy99 Level 1

                                  The level of annoyance in practically all of the posts in this thread is strong evidence that the digital rights management component of Adobe's software is fundamentally flawed.  That doesn't mean Amazon's DRM isn't equally flawed--who knows?  But I don't see how these flaws can be pinned on the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 2000, even if DMCA gave certain rights to publishers.  For, (although it has thankfully been awhile since I've read the DMCA in its entirety), I don't think that giving publishers or distributors the means to impose digital rights control was a grant to implement that DRM scheme lamely, regardless of who is doing the implementing. 


                                  Unfortunately, I believe that one fundamental problem is that e-book publishers get away with licensing DRM'd e-books to the public, instead of selling e-books. The license agreements usually restrict the licensee's (i.e., your) rights severely, by limiting legal remedies against the publisher (or DRM provider), by prohibiting you from selling or giving away your licensed copy, and by limiting express or implied warranties, none of which could be accomplished if the publisher sold the e-book.  So, although you can sell, give away, and retain a physical book until it falls apart, that may not be true with your licensed e-book.  Because software manufacturers were using these consumer unfriendly license "agreements" long before the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 2000, I don't see how DMC and a caused this whole mess.


                                  In theory, legal rights can keep marketplaces straight and pressure market players.  Thus, I suggest that one alternative way of solving the nasty problem of flawed digital rights management is to--gasp!--contact Congress, requesting legislation to prohibit software manufacturers or publishers of e-books from disclaiming warranties under license agreements, or requiring that a license that is a de facto purchase comes with the same bundle of rights as goes along with a purchase.   Gee, Congress could also require privacy for e-book purchases, so that neither your name nor personal information about you could be retained or distributed post-purchase.  (Remember Kenneth Starr going after book purchase records in the Clinton scandal?  Welcome to the police state!)  Now I know that Congress seems about as effective at writing legislation as Adobe is at providing digital rights management software that doesn't perturb thousands of users, but hope springs eternal!